I found an orphaned kitten. What do I do?

Orphaned Kittens

The following are options you may choose to pursue WITH a veterinarians input only. We advise caring for kittens you find only with the best of professional care. The following options are only a guide.

1. Nursing mom: Kittens under 5-6 weeks should not be put on a nursing mom unless both moms have been tested for FeLV & FIV. Kittens can pass diseases to the nursing mom and the nursing mom can pass diseases to the kittens.

2. Original mom is best: A mom cat will still produce milk to feed her kittens after being spayed. Mom's milk is the best for the kittens. They get immunities from mom's milk.

3. Bottle feeding: When bottle-feeding kittens, use a different bottle for each litter if you have more than one litter. Also, change your clothes to prevent upper respiratory infections (URIs) and other diseases from passing from litter to litter.

4. Supplementing a litter of 6 kittens or more with a mom: If you have a mom with a litter of 6 or more kittens, watch them carefully around 3-4 weeks of age. Mom may not have enough milk for the entire litter and all the kittens will suffer. You may need to supplement the feedings with KMR (or equivalent)

Aging the Kittens:

1. Umbilical cord attached: They are 3 days or younger.

2. Eyes: They begin to open at 7-8 days and all eyes should be open by day 10. Their eyes generally change from blue to blue/gray then yellow/green between 6 1/2 to 7 weeks of age but can vary kitten-to-kitten and litter-to-litter. In one litter, kittens can be conceived 4-5 days apart. This also contributes to the different days the eyes open.

3. Ears: Their ears stand up at 3-1/2 weeks of age.

4. Teeth: Another way to age the kittens is by the teeth. The following is from the Cornell Book of Cats. The ages are when the teeth break the skin or 'eruption of the teeth' happens, or when they break the surface.

Baby teeth:

Center (4) Incisors (front teeth between the canines) 2-3 weeks
Outer Incisors (still between the canines) 3-4 weeks
Canines 3-4 weeks
Upper molars (called a premolar) 2 months (8 weeks)
Lower molars (called a premolar) 4-5 weeks

Adult teeth:

Center (4) Incisors (front teeth between the canines) 3-1/2 to 4 months (14-16 weeks)
Outer Incisors (still beaten the canines) 4 to 4-1/2 months (16-18 weeks)
Canines 5 months
Upper molars (called a premolar) 4-1/2 to 6 months (depending on tooth)
Lower molars (called a premolar) 5-6 months for all
Upper molar in back, no baby tooth, just the molar at 4-5 months

5. Mobility: They are unstable on their feet until they are around 4 weeks of age and can run pretty well by 5 weeks. If you see kittens running around a yard, they are at least 5-6 weeks old.

6. Eating: They generally are eating on their own between 5 and 6 weeks of age. Some will eat as young as 4 weeks and some will take as long as 8 weeks to stop the bottle if you are bottle feeding. The older kittens who refuse to leave the bottle are generally needing the one-on-one affection they are receiving.

Kitten Care: 911:

1. If you find a chilled kitten: If you find a chilled kitten, warm it up before trying to feed the kitten. Hold the kitten close to you to get warmth into the body. Give it warmed sugar water in the mouth. You can also rub Karo Syrup on the gums. The syrup will inter the body quickly through the gums. Also, if the kitten is dehydrated, give it lactated ringers (fluids) via sub-Q (can be done by a vet).

2. If you find an over warmed kitten: If you find an over warmed kitten, cool it down before trying to feed the kitten. Put in cool water to lower the body temperature. Administer room temperature water into the mouth. Then, give the kitten room-temperature sugar water or Karo Syrup and lactated ringers (fluids) sub-Q as listed in #1.

3. If a kitten doesn't eat on his own after Karo Syrup: A kitten who is still doesn't eat may need a dose of antibiotics. They often get an imbalance in their intestines and need to correct the bacteria. They should eat within 12 hours of the first dose. Continue through the entire dose of drugs.

Kitten Care, non food related:

1. Very young need attention: If the kitten(s) do not have their eyes open, they are young and they should be held a minimum of three hours per day. Transfer what we know about monkeys in a cage without TLC, and you'll understand why the kittens need to be held. Without this affection, young kittens will often die. Hold them SEVERAL HOURS A DAY and you should have success with the kitten.

2. Clear Urine: Urine should be clear, not with mucous, blood or yellow. If there is blood or mucous, see a vet immediately. If the urine is yellow, the kitten is probably dehydrated. You may want to have lactated ringers (fluids) administered by sub-Q .

3. Bathroom stimulation: Stimulation is required for the release of both stool & pee until 3-4 weeks of age. use rough material, not cotton, to resemble mom's tongue. Use a warmed, wet wash cloth or a rough paper towel. Make sure the towel is wet. Slowly massage the genitals until the kitten has peed and pooped. The stool should be softly formed, not runny. If the stool is runny, it is likely you are overfeeding the kitten or it has a parasite. It is better to feed more often and give less food each time than to overfeed a kitten. Potty them before and after each feeding.

4. Keep warm and away from drafts: Young kittens do not keep a steady body heat. Keep out of drafts. Also, heating pads are essential if the weather is under 75 degrees. Put the pad on low and cover with a towel. The kitten will move off the pad when warm enough, so allow enough room in their 'area' for them to move off the pad.

5. Sucking on each other: If the kittens suck on each others genitals, separate them immediately. This can be painful to the kittens and can cause sores as well as protruded genitals (which will calm down when separated) Once they stop sucking, you can put the kittens back together. This can take several days.

6. Litter box usage: When starting to use a litter box, if the kittens poop outside the box, pick it up and place it into the box for training. Most kittens train themselves with a litter box with a little nudge from us. If you have the kittens in a large area, you may wish to provide more than one box so 'accidents' don't happen.

7. Type of litter: Do not use clumping litter with kittens under 4 months. Litter can get into the eyes and cause infections. Kittens also tend to eat the litter when young. You may wish to start out with a small container for the litter box with sides that are only 2 inches high. I use drawer dividers that are 6" x 9" x 2" high from Rubbermaid.

8. Keeping the kittens clean: While you are feeding the kittens, they will get food all over them, especially while you are weaning them. You need to clean them regularly to keep the food off them. They have sensitive skin and can get red, irritated skin if you leave KMR on their skin. A damp washcloth usually cleans them. You don't want them to get too wet and therefore get cold.

9. Parasites: Remove all fleas. I use a citrus based shampoo that doesn't kill the fleas, but slows them down. This also takes the dirt off them. A metal flea comb works great, too. Fleas can cause anemia in a kitten which can kill the kittens. Intestinal parasites can also kill the kitten. if you suspect parasites, take the kitten to a vet for de-worming and stool check. Drontal is a fairly new de-wormer that will kill both tapeworm and roundworm. It can be used on fairly young kittens.

Note: All kittens should be treated at sometime for roundworms, since 95% will have roundworms from their moms. It should be routine with your vet to de-worm for roundworms.

Kitten Care, food related:

1. Feeding all kittens: Food should be warmed to room temperature prior to feeding any kitten under 4 months of age. This includes mother's milk replacement. You should only put as much milk in the bottle that will be used at this feeding. After the feeding is over, throw out all remaining milk and clean the bottle and nipple. Re-using milk can cause bacteria in the kittens stomachs, which can make them stop eating. If kittens DO get a bacteria in the stomach (and stop eating), a dose of amoxicillian should fight the bacteria within 12 hours. Use the entire dose of the drug.

2. How much to feed and how often: 8cc per ounce of weight per day, do not overfeed. Feedings should be every 3-4 hours when the kittens are young and should be round the clock. The stool should be soft formed, not runny. If the stool is runny, it is likely you are overfeeding the kitten or it has a parasite. It is better to feed more often and give less food each time than to overfeed a kitten.

3. Position to feed from a bottle: Kittens should eat on it's stomach, in the position one would feed a horse, lamb or cow. Do not put them on their backs and feed like a human baby. This can lead to the formula going into the air pipes which can cause pneumonia and can kill them.

4. How the kittens should suck the bottle: Kitten should suck the bottle, not be forced down the throat. If the kitten is sucking, the ears move and the mouth creates a suction around the bottle. This prevents the food from going down the air pipes which can cause pneumonia. If the milk comes out of the mouth or nose, the hole is too big and you need to replace the nipple with one with a smaller opening.

5. Weaning kittens: Weaning kittens can be frustrating, especially if they don't want to give up the bottle and the special attention you are giving them. Start by mixing baby food (meats like chicken or turkey) or wet food mixed with KMR. You can also puree dry food in a blender and add with KMR.

6. Water dishes: Kittens should start drinking water on their own at 4-5 weeks of age. Don't get frustrated when they are only playing or walking in it. One day, you will see them drinking.

What to feed kittens:

Goats milk or KMR should be used on young kittens. Regular milk (whole, low-fat and non-fat) is not recommended. There are some home made remedies which work, too.

Goats milk: Most grocery stores carry goats milk, and it is available in condensed form to keep in the cupboard.

KMR: Available from a pet store, your vet or a feed store.

KMR is available in both mixed and dry version. The dry is more economical. There is a trick to mixing the water. Get a small container with a secure lid. Add some KMR powder and then add 1/10 the amount of total water needed. Shake until mixed. You should have a thick, smooth liquid. Dilute the liquid with the remaining 9/10 of the water.

Notes: Tube-feeding should be a last resort. A healthy cat will eat. A cat that needs to be forced may need a 12-24 hours of anti-biotics to 'kick in' the stomach. A kitten that has gone a long time without food may have it's stomach shut down. This will result in the milk curdling inside the kitten if the stomach is not functioning. This will kill the kitten. The best thing to do is to give the kitten warmed sugar water or rub Karo Syrup on the gums. Warmed sugar water is water that is saturated with regular white table sugar. Warm up a bit of water and add as much sugar that will be absorbed by the water. Karo Syrup on the gums will be absorbed into the system through the gums. Karo Syrup is easier to digest and is the best for the kitten, but if you are in a jam and don't have Karo Syrup, use regular white sugar.

Single kitten syndrome:

Single kittens tend to be biters. This can be helped by putting in a stuffed toy for the kitten to snuggle up to. You may also wish to find another single kitten to merge with this kitten. It is a health risk to merge them together for either kitten, but it can be really hard to break the habit of biting with a young kitten.

Why some kittens are abandoned:

Abandonment at birth: Moms tends to leave some kittens behind at birth if she feels she can not care for, protect or have enough milk for the entire litter. This is usually done within the first 24 hours.

Abandonment after the first week: If the mom has kicked just one out of the litter, there is probably something congenitally wrong with him/her and you will probably loose the kitten. Mom cats can sense if there is something wrong with a kitten.

Caught while moving them: If the mom is in the middle of moving her litter when you find 1-2 kittens, you have a choice. You can let her come back and retrieve her kitten or you can take it/them and care for them until they are adopted. Unlike other creatures (like birds) cats will take their young back after being touched by a human.

Why some kittens die:

Some kittens die for no apparent reason. Any kitten you bring in may die despite your efforts. This is a sad fact of rescue.

Can You Help with Feral Cats?

Feral Cat Help
Pasado's Safe Haven has limited facilities for feral cats. We are full as of this writing. If you are aware of a feral cat colony being "eradicated" by poisoning, shooting, or other means, please click here.

The standard recommendation for assisting a feral cat colony is "trap/neuter/release" which means:     1.  Humanely trap the cats
     2.  Sterilize them (vaccinate and treat for parasites)
     3.  Re-release in the area where they were found (where they "know" the territory, where to    find cover, etc.)

How to Trap Feral Cats

1. You can rent large, humane traps from AA Rentals or from NOAH, see above.
Some local shelters have them to rent, too.

2. Set them up where the animals are normally seen.

3. Use pop-top, canned cat food. Pop the lid, place it in the far, back end
of the cage (so they must walk over the "trip" mechanism to get to it.

4. Place a cover over the trap that leaves the end that they'd enter in, exposed. The cover serves two purposes: in case it rains, it'll keep them dry. AND, feral cats can get scared out very quickly. They've been known to kill themselves inside a trap.

We've had traps stolen. Also, you do NOT want someone else (who might not be as kind and gentle as you) finding the trap with a cat inside.

5. You might catch unwanted animals i.e. opossums, a raccoon, etc.
It's no problem. Simply lift the gate opener and they'll run like the
wind. Re-set, put another can of food in there, and you're set.

6. When you check the traps, simply lift a corner of the covering up.
If you see you've got a cat, be VERY quiet. Cover him back up.
Quietly place them inside your car (on something to catch urine)
and then take them to be spayed/neutered at your vet INSIDE the same cage.

If you find the animal at night and need to house them overnight,
once again, be VERY quiet. Place them inside a bathroom or a garage.
DO NOT try and feed them. If you open the cage, they may get out.
Transport them, covered, the next day to your vet.

Feral Cat Resources in Washington State:
Every Monday, N.O.A.H., located in North Snohomish County, offers FREE spay/neuters for feral cats. Humane cat traps are available on loan ($50 refundable cash deposit required) for transporting the cats to and from N.O.A.H. Please call them at 360.629.7055 for complete information and directions.

The Feral Cat Project: This non-profit program offers a once-a-month FREE spay/neuter clinic for feral cats. Go to http://www.feralcatproject.org/.

How do I report animal cruelty or neglect?

If you witness an animal being abused or you suspect that abuse is going on, the most important action you can take is to report the cruelty to your local law enforcement agency.

If you witness animal cruelty in progress, call 911:Animal cruelty is a crime. Your call to the police may save animals and people. People who commit crimes against animals are five times more likely to be involved in domestic violence, fighting and drugs. Always get an incident number as this will be very helpful in the future.Do not attempt to deal with the crime yourself:
The authorities are there to help you, and the sooner they are involved, the better.

Pasado’s is here to help. Call our cruelty investigator if you see or suspect animal abuse or neglect.
360-793-9393 X 102

Please click here for more information.

Giving Up a Pet

60,000 healthy dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies are euthanized in Washington State, the home of Pasado's Safe Haven, every year.
This HAS to stop.

Pasado's Safe Haven is an NMO Shelter. What is an NMO Shelter?
A hundred years ago, when a man or woman brought children into a new marriage and the step-parent didn't get along with them, the children were often discarded at orphanages. If finances got tight, the same thing happened. If the family needed to move to accommodate the father getting a new job, and the children were too inconvenient to take along, one or all of them were dropped at the state or religious run orphanage. Sisters, brothers, and parents who had a sibling or son or daughter give-up their responsibility of raising a child, would turn to an orphanage to help, when just 50 years before, it was relatives, neighbors, friends who stepped up and took a child in. When parents died, and children were left behind, the community used to "step up". Then, orphanages became the dumping ground for children, until society said it was wrong.

Today's animal shelters are no different. When a husband or wife say they're "allergic" to the new pet of a new spouse, the animal is dumped. If times get tough financially, the dedicated dog or cat may be the first "thing" to go. We can't tell you how many times we've heard the excuse "we're moving" or "we're retiring and want to travel", so the beloved pet has to be abandoned. Because shelters exist, it's easy to just take that animal and toss them away - and let someone else take on the responsibility.

It doesn't seem to matter that the vast majority of animals dumped at shelters are killed, in the arms of a complete stranger. Pasado's Safe Haven will no longer tolerate the "easy" way to dump animals.

NMO means "No More Orphanages". We believe it's a concept that will become reality someday - when society no longer tolerates people not taking responsibility for their pets.

Our goal:
-To assure every pet is microchipped
-Get all shelters to believe in the NMO policy
-"But animals will be abandoned then, if no shelters exist!"
Abandonment laws exist for animals, just like they do for children. By microchipping all pets, the owners can be identified and prosecuted.
-"But what about pet owners who are ill or died?"
We believe families should step-up. As long as "shelters" exist, it'll be easy not to "impose" on family members and easier for family members to dump their mother or father's or grandparent's dog or cat.
-"What if people don't have family?"
That is a different story. In the case of children, foster care programs exist to answer exactly this type of situation. We believe that is the only role shelters should play in the future - to help animals who have NO other option.

What to do and what NOT to do when rehoming a pet:
It is vitally important that you know what NOT to do when trying to place an animal. We do NOT recommend placing an ad in a newspaper or on a website "board" such as CraigsList. Those who sell animals to research labs find them easily through these manners.

No matter how you try to find a new home, you should REQUIRE an at-home check, the ability to visit the family in 6 months, AND require an adoption fee, to place a value on your animal. We recommend placing a dog or at on www.petfinder.com and seriously screen all applicants to assure they are not "adopting" your pet simply to sell your dog or cat to a research laboratory where it will suffer and die in biomedical experiments.

Petfinder Tips
1. The great thing about Petfinder is that many people choose to find their new pet using the web.
2. Petfinder is "regional" based. This means that when you list a pet based on your zip code, people in your area will find you quickly making a match easier for them.
3. Take a great up-close photo of the animal. There is nothing like a crisp, well-lit photo to "market" the animal.
4. List the animal's great qualities. People want to know if a dog gets along with other dogs, cats, and children.
5. Above all, be HONEST. If a dog hasn't been house-broken, tell the truth. And then add a link to a great website that shows how easy it is to housebreak an animal. Or, better yet, housebreak the dog first, then find him or her a great home!

We hope that you'll go the distance for the animal you're trying to place - and not just choose the 'easy' way, but the most compassionate and responsible way to help this animal who has found his or her way into your life.


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